Changes to Unemployment Insurance No Help to Workers, Says FFAW

May 24, 2012, 3:41 PM EST


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The creation of three separate categories of Employment Insurance claimants is "a backward step" for the EI system in Canada, said FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy, today in St. John's.

McCurdy was reacting to the comments by Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley at a press conference.

He noted that the Minister provided very little detail on proposed changes, but the creation of three tiers of EI recipient is "an ominous sign", and betrays the Harper government's disdain for seasonal industries and seasonal workers.

He challenged the federal government to "come clean" on whether there would be separate benefit levels for the different categories of claimant.

He dismissed as "ridiculous" the Minister's claim that there had been consultation about these changes, and noted that the budget bill gives "unprecedented and sweeping powers" to the federal cabinet to change the EI rules, without the scrutiny of Parliament.

"I don't trust a Prime Minister who has described Atlantic Canadians as having a culture of defeat to treat us fairly in any regulatory change."

McCurdy also took issue with the Minister's claim that changes to EI clawback rules were an improvement over the previous rules.

"For our members, the changes the federal government has announced related to working while on claim will penalize workers with short weeks of employment."

Overall, he said, government seems to be "determined to make precarious work even more precarious, but it is only when actual regulations are disclosed that the extent of the attack on seasonal workers will be known."

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